Several U.S. legislatures introduced the bipartisan Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, which would establish federal grants for offshore wind education and training.
Led by Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the bill would create a federal grant program to assist colleges, universities, state and local governments, unions, and nonprofits in the development of programs to prepare workers for jobs in the nation’s offshore wind industry.
“This legislation recognizes the potential for offshore wind energy along the Eastern seaboard to create jobs and economic growth. At the same time, it upholds essential workforce development strategies targeted in this growing energy sector, including union training and apprenticeship programs,” said Mike Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America.
The potential for offshore wind development in the U.S. is substantial. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if we used even one percent of the nation’s technical potential offshore wind capacity, it could power nearly 6.5 million homes.
The United States’ first wind farm, the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, creates enough electricity to power 17,000 homes. Since Block Island powered up, states along the East Coast have committed to build out nearly 20,000 MW of offshore wind capacity.
“The offshore wind industry holds great potential for job creation and economic growth and will drive down the emissions that cause climate change,” said BlueGreen Alliance Interim Co-Executive Director Mike Williams. “We need to prepare our workers to be ready to seize the opportunities coming out of this growing field—while also ensuring the jobs created by the industry are good-paying, safe jobs. The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act will do just that.”